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TOPIC: Profiteering by insulation industry central to Grenfell Tower fire in London

Profiteering by insulation industry central to Grenfell Tower fire in London 28 Dec 2017 09:45 #5459

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By Tom Pearce, 28 December 2017

An investigation by Sky News highlights the role of profiteering by corporations in the Grenfell fire.

Conducted over four months, the report reveals a culture of intimidation, bullying and lies within the plastics industry. Not only were the rules manipulated to have more plastic fitted to buildings, but people were also silenced who would speak out against criminal practices.

Senior figures in the fire safety sector had warned well in advance that a disaster of the type seen at Grenfell was likely to happen. Moreover, many advisers had been telling successive Labour and Conservative governments about the dangers and that the building regulations were not fit for purpose.

Sky News found that no one would go on camera because they were told that “speaking out about [the plastic insulation industry] was impossible” and that people involved had had “threats to sue.”

Rockwool, which produces “non-combustible mineral-based alternative to plastic insulation,” was sued for “malicious falsehood” because they made the claim that their product did not burn and that plastic does.

In 2013, an insurance firm investigated the safety of plastic insulation. It found that the panels burned more fiercely in real life than in official tests. As the result of posting the footage on YouTube, they were threatened with legal action and had to conceal the brand of insulation.

Just a week after the Grenfell fire, the insulation industry was making sure it was business as usual. Sky revealed that “six European plastic industry lobby groups” had complained in a letter about a paper that highlighted the dangers of toxic smoke from burning plastic. It said, “We request that the article is withdrawn. … The consequences […] are enormous and could well lead to significant consequential losses.”

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